For Twenty-Seventh Year, High Heel Race Brings Hundreds Out | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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For Twenty-Seventh Year, High Heel Race Brings Hundreds Out

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The heels, and colors, were in abundance for the 27th annual running of the High Heel Race on 17th Street NW on Tuesday night.
Lauren Landau
The heels, and colors, were in abundance for the 27th annual running of the High Heel Race on 17th Street NW on Tuesday night.

Hundreds of heels stampeded through Dupont Circle last night for the 27th annual High Heel Race.

A crowd of people, including men, women and plenty of men dressed as women, braced themselves behind the starting line next to Colbalt bar and nightclub on 17th Street NW as Mayor Vincent Gray grabbed a bullhorn.

"Are you ready? Take your marks! Get set! Go!" Gray yelled.

Participants wearing sky-high heels moved toward the finish line, some quickly, some much more gingerly. After running in the race for her first time, drag queen Amanda La Mancha — who donned six-inch heels — says she'll definitely come back next year.

"I have Dr. Scholl's memory foam inserts on each one," she admitted.

Kevin Smith is known in and around town as Carlton Stephens, who was crowned Mr. Capital Pride 2013 back in May. He came out in glittery regalia to support the runners, though he didn't participate himself.

"I know what it's like to walk in a pair of heels," says Smith. "I would not want to run."

But Smith says he gives a lot of credit to those who do don stilettos for the short race, which he says speaks to D.C.'s accepting and welcoming atmosphere.

"I think it just puts us out there in people's eyes," Smith says. "We don't have to hide who we are or where we are." He says the race is an opportunity for community members to get together, have fun and celebrate with each other.

David Perruzza is the general manager of JR's Bar & Grill, which organized the first High Heel Race in 1986. He says the event keeps getting bigger and bigger.

"It's an event that the community loves. Straight, gay, no matter what. People bring their kids, and it's just an amazing event that doesn't cause any problems. It brings D.C. together," Perruzza says.

And even though the event doesn't raise any money and is, as he puts it, a "huge hassle," Perruzza says he and the folks from JR's keep it going for the community.

Colbalt General Manager Mark Rutstein also helped organize the event. He says he looks forward to the casual fashion show that accompanies the annual race. "I mean, it's art, so just the anticipation of seeing what people are going to wear always makes it fun for me," he says.

Rutstein says this is the first year that participants were able to track their time, using a chip provided by Pacers Running Store. "It's going to log their time from start to finish and they're going to be posting it on their website at RunWashington.com so everyone will be able to tell how fast or slow they were in their heels."

After signing in, runners were given chips planted in a pink ribbon that they tied around a thigh like a garter belt. D.C. queen Inertia Dolce was first to cross the finish line, with a time of 43 seconds, according to the website.

Pasquale Guiducci, also known by his drag name "Gabby D'Cucci," sported a midriff-baring fishnet top and black, translucent miniskirt. It was his first time running in the race, and he came with full intentions of winning. Guiducci even made sure to purchase "runnable" shoes, a pair of shiny, patent leather heeled boots.

"I want to win," he says. "It's my first year, but I want to come in and show them what I've got." The petite dancer missed the mark by 56 seconds, landing in 19th place.    

Matthew Pruitt attended the race as a spectator and supporter of his husband, Justyn Davis, who ran as "Miss Emma Vixen." Pruitt says his first High Heel Race experience was "amazing."

"Last year I ran as a guy in heels and I had so much fun," Miss Vixen says. This year, she returned as "the death of Britney Spears' career," in a macabre, bloodied schoolgirl outfit paired with black, Mary Jane heels.

"I grew up in Ohio, but with a very accepting family, and I'm proud to say that I can run in heels, looking a mess, like a, well, you know, a transsexual, and people are loving it," she says. "I'm so happy to be able to express myself this way."

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